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Child-adult ratios at daycare centres

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Nygaard Christoffersen, Mogens & Højen-Sørensen, Anna-Katharina
Publication Date: 
20 Dec 2013

Note: This report is currently available only in Danish. CRRU will post an English translation or summary as it becomes available. You can use Google Translate to provide a rough translation.


The debate on the child-adult ratio at daycare centres has swung one way then the other in recent years. How many, or how few adults should there be in a daycare centre to help give our children a good start in life?

This report is about how to calculate the child-adult ratio at daycare centres. The report is a systematic review which describes how child-adult ratios have been calculated in a number of research projects on the development and well-being of 3-6 year-olds.

The review shows that there is a great difference in how child-adult ratios are calculated. For example, a child-adult ratio could be determined on the basis of the number of children registered at a centre, via a questionnaire for parents and managers, or on the basis of observations at a centre. Are students included in the child-adult ratio? Do calculations take staff and child absenteeism into account?

The researchers conclude that it is important to be careful when choosing methods to describe the child-adult ratio in a daycare centre. They also point out that it can be difficult to compare child-adult ratios across studies and surveys.

The review was commissioned and financed by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Integration.

Entered Date: 
13 Aug 2014
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